One of the worst parts about writing a deep-league waiver wire piece is the inevitable "not deep enough" comments immediately after it posts.
I get it. It has to be frustrating to play in a league that is deeper than 95 percent of all other leagues. There's rarely advice tailored just for you. Hopefully today will help most of you because there's a player who is only owned in two percent of leagues who will get to play every day for the next month and a half and just hit a home run.
Valencia has struggled mightily this year, but an injury to Tim Beckham makes him the Orioles regular third baseman for the next six-plus weeks. Valencia has bounced all over the American League in the past five years, but he's done at least one thing pretty consistently; hit lefties. Since the start of 2015, Valencia has a .372 OBP and a .365 wOBA against left-handed pitching. So at the very least, Valencia becomes a very interesting platoon player in deeper leagues with daily lineup changes.
But there have also been times over the past three years where Valencia has hit righties well enough to stay in the lineup. In 2015 and 2016 he was good against everyone, hitting .288 with 35 home runs in 895 plate appearances. He's in a decent lineup and he's going to be in great hitter's parks for most of the month of May -- 37 of Baltimore's next 47 games will be in parks that rate as above average for right-handed power hitters. With Valencia's dual-eligibility, most teams in 15-team leagues or deeper will be able to find a place for him.
Other than having an awesome name, Kyle Barraclough may also be the most likely guy on this list to be relevant in all leagues very quickly. The Marlins, despite Derek Jeter's insistence, are not a competitive baseball team. But they do have some interesting arms in the pen behind Brad Ziegler, who has been one of the worst closers in baseball. Barraclough is the most interesting.
Over 172.2 major-league innings, Barraclough has a 2.87 ERA and 235 strikeouts. The concern with him has been control, but even that seems slightly improved. I assume Barraclough is already owned in deep Roto leagues because of his help in Ks and ERA, but in deep points leagues where RPs are bad, he is absolutely worth stashing.
Chris Towers did too. And Soler dutifully came through with a home run Thursday night. But this isn't about the home run. It's about everything that led up to it. Soler has an 18.2 percent walk rate and a 54 percent hard-contact rate. His strikeouts are down as well. The only real problem is that his fly balls are down. If he continues lifting the ball as he did Thursday night, we're going to see that 16 (ownership) turn into a 61 pretty fast.. I
Matt Koch is not the type of pitcher I get excited about. His strikeout rate in the minor leagues has been abysmal. The upside is extremely limited. But the bar is a lot lower when you're a SPARP and you're 11 percent owned. What he has going for him, besides that eligibility, is a good ground ball rate and very good control. That combined with the Diamondbacks' run support and the humidor could make him an appealing option in deep points leagues where relievers are scarce. I'd rather start him than someone like Fernando Rodney or Brad Ziegler.
Brandon Woodruff started the year in the majors, but went down due to a roster crunch. Eric Thames' injury earned him a call back to the big leagues as a long reliever and the performance of the Brewers starters may get him a shot at the rotation soon. Brent Suter has a 5.68 ERA, and peripherals suggest Zach Davies and Jhoulys Chacin have actually been worse than Suter. Like Koch, Woodruff's upside is capped by his lack of strikeouts, but he does at least have a respectable K/9 in the minor leagues. Here's hoping we get to see how that translates to the majors the rest of the year.
Jesus Aguilar has torn the cover off the ball this year, and with Eric Thames' injury he'll be getting more regular playing time. But unlike Danny Valencia, he won't play every day. He's also not eligible at third base. But that's not to say he's not useful. Aguilar has good pop in a great situation. He owns a career 43.5 percent hard-contact rate. He's very useful when he's in the lineup and he should be more often now. I'd just prefer to roster him in a daily lineups league because we're still going to see Ryan Braun at first base occasionally.